Women, Widows and Money - Evolution Financial Planning

If you became a widow, would you know how to manage your finances?

The most important lesson that women can learn about looking after their money, is how they would cope financially as a result of the death of their spouse.

This is a common occurrence for women as women outlive men on average by 5 years in the UK according to the Imperial College School of Medicine in London. It’s not something that we like to think or talk about, but its seriousness outweighs the need to bury our heads in the sand pretending that it won’t ever happen.

It is a terrible time both emotionally and financially. Women find themselves in a situation where they have to manage the finances by themselves at the same time as having a reduced income because the majority of them will be retired and at the same time dealing with the pain and stress of losing a loved one.

Of course it doesn’t always happen this way, there are many women who lose their partners well before retirement age. Therefore, it makes sense for women to know what is going on with the household income, insurances and protection.

One suggestion is to start right now, no matter how young you both are. Take regular time out to talk about the household income and for both of you to be aware of your outgoings and incomings. This is a great budgeting exercise and even though it can open a can of worms, it can certainly help sort your finances out!

Also if you need to talk to a financial advisor, maybe you are looking to re-mortgage or update your income protection, then make sure that both of you are present when you book a meeting with your financial advisor so that you both know what is going on.

Another option is for you to choose your family’s financial advisor and take the initiative in booking a meeting so you can go over all relevant and important insurances and protection policies to make sure that you completely understand what you have in place. Not only will this take the stress from you if the unthinkable happens, but you will have established a relationship with your advisor and be able to call upon them to help you straightaway.

There are a few questions that you both should be able to answer: if one person was to die, how would it affect the household income, would the survivor know where all the paperwork is, how quickly would the survivor be able to get access to the family’s money?

Alexandra Armstrong, author of “On your own, A Widow’s passage to emotional and financial well- being” and financial planner in US, tells women to know their money inside out no matter how young or old they are and she suggests that you should keep all financial paperwork well organised and easily accessible.

On the same thread, if you have elderly parents, it is worth talking to them to add you or another ‘trusted person’ onto their accounts so that if they become too ill or pass on, then you can deal with their finances quickly and easily. You can also apply to be a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA in the UK which will give you complete control over your family member’s financial and health concerns should they become incapable of doing it themselves.

It is also worth noting not to make any large financial decisions too quickly as mourning can interfere with good decision making. Most bereavement advisors say that no major decisions should be made until at least 12 months afterwards. The best thing to do is to get good advice and take time to make any decision.

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